Exploratory Interaction with Information through Visualization and Semantics: Designing a Visual User Interface Using the UNESCO Multilingual Thesaurus

Citation: Ali Shiri, Stan Ruecker, Carlos Fiorentino, Amy Stafford, Matthew Bouchard(2010),Exploratory Interaction with Information through Visualization and Semantics: Designing a Visual User Interface Using the UNESCO Multilingual Thesaurus,pp.1-8. Available at http://www.cais-acsi.ca/proceedings/2010/CAIS021_Shirieetal_Final.pdf


The paper reports on the design of a visual user interface for the UNESCO digital portal using UNESCO multilingual thesaurus to provide visualized views of terms and their relationships. The exploratory interface combines searching and browsing and provides semantic support for query formulation and expansion, visualizing semantic relationships held in standard thesauri, namely broader, narrower, related and synonymous terms. The exploratory interface exploits such visual cues as location, size, colour, font type and the use of space on the interface along with visualization techniques such as word clouds and the notion of terms as visual objects to show the relationship between and among terms shown to the users. The interface provides two versions, one uses UNESCO Thesaurus, the other uses word clouds. Additional, the interface supports seamless access to three spaces, namely thesaurus space, query space and result display space, i.e. combining the three different spaces into one single user interface.

The Theoretical Framework of the Interface

(1)rich-prospect interfaces in which individual representations of every item in a collection are combined with emergent tools derived from Ruecker, Stan and Rosan Chow( Ruecker, Stan and Rosan Chow. (2003) The significance of prospect in interfaces to health-related web sites for the elderly. Proceedings from Include 2003. Helen Hamlyn Research Institute, Royal College of Art, London England March 25-8, 2003. CD format. pp. 273-7)

(2) ideas for thesaurus-based search interfaces suggested by Shiri et al.( Shiri, A. A.; Revie, C.; Chowdhury, G. (2002) Thesaurus-Enhanced Search Interfaces. Journal of Information Science. 28(2): pp.111-122.)

①Providing hierarchical and alphabetical lists to support different strategies.

②Allowing flexible ways of choosing terms.

③Facilitating movement between a descriptor and its hierarchical structure.

④Catering for the selection of alternative Boolean operators.

⑤Providing a term pool option for saving the descriptors.

⑥Integrating thesaurus and retrieved documents displays.

⑦Making thesaurus options available in all stages of the search process.

Future work

To conduct user-centred evaluation studies to establish their usability, learnability and usefulness.

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